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The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2021

All Issues
OCT 2021 Issue
Poetry

three


MOUTH WEATHER (RENEE GLADMAN)



I wake up unwilling with a dog on my neck, everything moving sluggish molecular cold. The kitchen table is a desk so I don’t have to step from the stream of your commentary or the walls heating up in morning’s directions. A dog is about bringing the outside in while there is still an outside. Attention alters the temperature: movement on the level of vibration. Slight openings to press a cheek to and express the workday pores. Approach is a sensation. We’re heading in non-parallel directions, leaving touch on the table. I invite you into the space of my body, for study. Discovering operations of nearness and the adaptor I need to interface with your inner delight. Everything on the table helps me reach for it. A chihuahua sleeps for eighteen hours a day. I extend our bubble with a tongue and snowfall begins, leaving work obsolete. I like it when you tell me where your mouth has been. Begin can be replaced with any word that brings you closer









OPEN HOURS (PACO SALAS PÉREZ)



given a finitude of dances


I’d like as many you can give me


exhausted in the glad spent morning


from work in afternoon means time


for breakfast and arriving back at you


with the inside of me


in hours as material as these


love’s both concentric selfishness,


no time to love everyone even


if we’d like, and since you pointed to


the rabbit in the moon I’ve had


a new relationship to fullness




there are so many of us, oh good


but morning is a recurrent slip


from I forgo it. the hours


go on exchanging somewhere


for elsewhere in love’s index


I’m ready when you are


in the next place we go looking









TRUTH GAME (JOE BRAINARD)



OPTIMIST


I think I am an optimist because I see many cats, but 9 out of 10 are plastic bags



SOMETHING WRONG


With enough conviction, and for at least a little while, almost anyone can convince me I’ve done something wrong



PRIME DIRECTIVE


My prime directive is to not bother anyone. But I keep writing poetry



BLURTING


(I wish I didn’t)



DO IT


but I don’t know what I want until I’m doing it



BASIC


Reading Judith Butler made me trans



THE TRUTH


And “the truth”—why is the truth so narrow-minded?



RESTAURANT


If I were a restaurant, I wouldn’t go back to me



COMPANIONSHIP


It would be better to be completely encased



NEED


My therapist said I have a “gaping hole of need”



WHO ASKED YOU?


I like to think I keep my need hole pretty neat along the edges



I WAS ABOUT TO ORDER AN IMPOSSIBLE BAGEL


When a chihuahua woke me up from a dream of a basketball machine called Sensitive Boy Sensations, 50 cents to play



TODAY


Today is a good day to look at a photo of early Samuel R. Delany



BIG HANDS


That gif of a big hand squeezing juice from a shampoo ginger flower



AFFINITY POLITICS


My enduring affinity for art by gay men who don’t care about me



“COMMUNITY”


A lake full of identical jellyfish, looking at itself



CROWD OF THE DAMNED (1197)


I do miss Riis beach all fall, winter, and spring



EROTICS OF THE ABSENT MIND


If my mind is going to be elsewhere, you better believe I’m making the most of the hole it left



LIFE IS NOT NOBLE, SACRED, OR GOOD


And a cocksucker will always want more of it

Contributor

Charles Theonia

Charles Theonia is a poet and teacher from Brooklyn, where they’re working to externalize interior femme landscapes. They are the author of art book, Saw Palmettos (Container, 2018), and chapbook Which One Is the Bridge (Topside Press, 2015).

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The Brooklyn Rail

OCT 2021

All Issues